Frequently Asked Questions

Email questions, comments  and photos of your boats to

k line rTN

Question:  Did I receive Everything?

Hello Mr. Yackel,

Last week I received my own Pinquino 145 kit from Pygmy, and was pleased to just discover your Youtube videos and then your beautiful website.  I have not examined it all but I see that you are very careful and exacting, and I have already benefited from what you have presented.  

For example, you supported my idea about making a simple table on sawhorses, and showed that the framing can be light 1X2 (rather than the 2X4 I would have used) and decked with 5 mm lauan (rather than heavier plywood).  I think tomorrow I will buy the materials and make my worktable, then I can launch into assembly.

You showed a photo of your boxes from Pygmy on your new table, and I noticed 3 boxes, 2 of which matched the 2 I received, but a third (the smaller flatter brown cardboard box) I did not receive.  Unfortunately I had to have my kit delivered to a local outdoor equipment store, and later that day I picked it up.  They only showed me two boxes, and unfortunately it did not come with a shipping invoice so I am now wondering whether Pygmy shipped me 2 or 3 boxes.  If you had something extra in the third box, perhaps you could reassure me.  I have also emailed Pygmy with this same question.

Thank you for documenting your work, it will certainly help me as this project is at the edge of my skills (or at least my confidence).  I saw you came down from New York.  I was raised in Ithaca, but moved out of the region in 1978 when I turned 18.  I am temporarily living/working/boat building in Kansas and hope to explore some of Kansas in my Pinguino this summer before bringing it back to my home in the Northwest.

I look forward to studying more of your videos and webpages.

Daniel R.



Hi Daniel,

Thanks for your kind comments.  The website has been a hobby of mine that keeps me busy when I'm not on the water or building a boat!  Let me respond to your several questions.  First, the third box you refer to contained several additional components (accessories) I ordered from Pygmy when I ordered my boat.  The long thin box contained all of the wooden pieces and the white box contained the epoxy, fiberglass, wire for stitching and other items needed in its construction. 

 Now let me speak to the table.  It has worked pretty well.  It is light weight, so as a result it has some flex to it.  In addition to the four saw horses I used to hold it up, I c-clamped the center section together and supported it with a wooden leg/brace, also c-clamped in place.  Quarter inch plywood would cost more and you would need two sheets, but it would be more solid.  The table's deck gets pretty well covered with spilled and dripped epoxy, so figure it as a cost of building the boat and don't expect to use it for anything else.  That being said, the table has been more than adequate for all but one purpose - the gluing of the keel which did require a 2 by 4 to get the desired straight and level run (see Page 9 of your instruction book, Glue Inside Keel Seam).  The table just wasn't stable enough for that purpose.  

I have built a few things like this boat before, but it has been a while.  The last few times I used epoxy and fiberglass was about 35 years ago.  I was very nervous about using this material because of my experience then.  But, materials and processes have improved greatly over that time.  You will undoubtedly make mistakes.  I have made several so far, big and small.  But the material seems to be quite forgiving and the folks at Pygmy stand ready to help you solve any pickle you get yourself into.  Just read your manual as carefully as you can and get started!

Don Yackel

a.k.a. Yackman

k line rTN

Question: Is the Video Sequence Correct?

Hey Don,

 A buddy and I are building two Pinguino 4pd’s in my barn in Oklahoma.  We are just beginning to stitch panels…  your videos are very helpful, kind of nice to see what the next step looks like before you actually get there!.  One question (that’s a lie, I probably have several) – is the video “tightening up” out of sequence, or do you tighten up after you glue?

Keep up the good work,



Hi Mark,

First a question: Did you see the videos on YouTube or on my website?  The YouTube videos may be out of sequence because I had some trouble uploading a couple of the videos.   That being said, the sequence is that you insert the temporary frames then tighten the interior wires.  Next you level and glue the keel. Then align the bow and stern stems and tighten the exterior wires.  Thats when you glue all the rest of the seams.  You may get ahead of me at this point as I have been ready to glass the hull since the end of November but travel, the holidays and a small medical procedure have kept me from going ahead.  In glassing the hull, as I understand it, there are a sequence of steps that must be taken without any significant delay between the them.  I’ll probably get back to it after January 1.

Good luck.  Let me know hoe you are progressing.  If you send me some pictures I'll post them on the website.


k line rTNh

Question: Is Making Wire Staples Necessary? 

Mark answers and asks another question: I was on your website…  entirely possible I was looking at them in the wrong order, too.  I will send you some pictures of our progress.  Tonight is preparation for stitching…  does one really need to pre-bend the wire, or is it easier to put the wire through the holes and pull it taught?  I understand your issue on the time line.  It appears that several steps, during the glassing of the hull, have to fit in to a 72 hour period. 

I am encouraged that the process is now going to produce something that looks like a boat…  that box of plywood was discouraging!

Good luck,


Answer:  First, You were correct.  The sequence is out of order on the  website.  I will correct it right away.  Thanks for the heads-up.  I should have known you were on the website from the email address.  I have it set up so that emails to my website address forward to my regular address.  Sometimes I miss the fact that the emails have been forwarded.  

Second, It is really helpful to pre bend the wires.  I thought I had included video of the jig I made to manufacture wire clips, but I didn't find it.  Here's what I did.  I laid a 3.5 inch strip of blue tape on my table, from the edge back, and cut a full spool of wire into 3.5 inch pieces You don’t have to be anal about this.  “About” 3.5 inches is good enough).  Then I took a piece of 1" by 2" by 1 foot wood and drilled a 1/16th inch hole .5 inches from one edge and 1.5 inches deep.  I clamped the wood to the table, then inserted a wire into the hole and bent the wire over toward the 1/2 inch side then down along the wood strip.  This gave me a 1.5 by .5 by 1.5 inch staple.  Repeat the process several hundred times.  It's worth doing because the staples are just the right size to accomplish the job you are trying to complete.

By the time you complete the loose wiring you will have  what looks like a boat.  It's a great feeling.

Looking forward to the pictures.  BTW, my wife asks, “Where can you paddle in Oklahoma?”

Don Yackel

Follow-up Comment: Thanks for the wire jig!  Was pondering that little 300 step process last night...  

We have the Illinois river where we are (NE Oklahoma), Lots of smaller clear rivers and streams.  2 hours gets you to Arkansas and Missouri, White River, Buffalo River, Kings River, lots of others.  We have a dozen large lakes within an hours drive from Tulsa.  Our little group did a great trip this summer, Yellowstone back country.  Had to tow our yaks the last mile up a stream, but had Shoshone lake to ourselves.  I work in the Orlando area several days a month, I certainly envy the opportunities you have!  Thanks again for the help.


Note: Click here to see the video on making wire staples.

Question:  Are You Happy With Pinguino?

Hi Yackman.  Just visited your page and saw your Pinguino was for sale. I'm just finishing mine, well probably a couple more months. I had a good year hiatus while involved in other projects. Were you happy with the boat? I noticed in your most recent video it seems you were in the kayak that hung in your garage while you were building the pygmy. Anyway just wondering if it just didn't do what you needed it to do or was there something in particular wrong?

While I'm here I'll pick your brain. If you could only have one boat for rivers, lakes, coastal estuaries with mostly day use but the occasional several day to one week camping what would you choose? Would you ever build another boat or are the manufactured choices just too good?

Thanks and cheers,


Answer:  Hi Malcolm, I am not selling the Pinguino and thought I had taken that page down (I can’t find it and am wondering if you can send me the link so I can do so).  I am not at all dissatisfied with the Pinguino.  I decided to sell it after a couple of accidents that damaged the boat, causing a need for repairs.  I was having a problem seeing it get scratched up and worse.  Since then I have reconsidered and decided to keep it.  

For me, building the boat was more of the experience I was looking for, and I got that.  I use Pinguino mostly in protected waters, rivers, small lakes, creeks, etc., as it likes to run down wind a bit in strong winds in open water (a rudder would correct that of course).  I have had my composite boat (an Impex Currituck) for nine years.  Its like an old friend and fits me like a comfortable pair of shoes.  I use it for all kinds of trips, mostly five to seven day kayaking adventures.  It is great for trips, but less so for short day paddles.  That’s when I use Pinguino.  Penguin is more maneuverable in tight rivers and streams.  It is also lighter (37 pounds vs. 60 pounds) and easier to load and unload.  I have done overnight camping in Pinguino on a Florida creek, and could probably do several days more.  The back hatch on my boat is large and can accommodate a lot of gear.  So, given what you have told me, your choice of a Pinguino seems like a good fit.  

As to building another boat, I might.  If I did it would be one of the seventeen foot Pygmys.  But I’ve had the building experience and will probably paddle the Currituck till one of us isn’t fit to paddle anymore.

Enjoy Your Boat,


Question: How Much Finishing Material (WR-LPU) is Necessary?

Hi Yackman.  Just watched your finishing video again. I will be using the same material you used  to finish my Pinguino (WR-LPU). Can you please tell me how much of the material you ordered. Thanks, 


Answer: Hi Jerry.  It goes pretty far.  I think I only bought a quart.  But check with the seller on coverage.  You might buy a second quart if you can return it unused and unopened.  You probably saw that I had a helper.  The stuff dries fast so a helper is really useful.  You can do multiple coats on the same day without sanding.  

Good Luck, Yackman

CommentThank you, Don. I did order one quart yesterday. My son, David, who helped with the build, will be helping with the final finish. I have really been enjoying my Pinguino.  Getting more comfortable with it day by day. Your videos were an indispensable aid that helped me turn out a really fine boat!   Thanks for the reply, Don.


Jerry’s Finished Boat

Question/Comment: Thanks for Your Videos

Dear Yackman, I just wanted to thank you for your you tube videos on your Penguino construction process. I have just finished mine and found your videos very informative and a good adjunct to the instruction manual. Although I enjoyed the process of building my own kayak I found the instructions were not always as specific as I would have liked. I have subscribed to your channel and enjoy your videos. Please keep them coming!

Thanks again


Answer:  Thanks for the positive comments Chuck.  I’d love to see a picture of your boat.  If I can collect a few that I’ve contributed toI might put them on my website.  Yackman

Question: Keel Protection/Back support?

Here is a picture of the finished product. After taking the boat out today I realized I need to add keel protection and also want to change the back support. Any suggestions? Thanks, Chuck.

Chuck’s Boat

AnswerYour boat looks great. Nice work!  I put  a KeelEzy strip on mine to protect it. Costs about $2.00 per foot. I've used it on three boats and think it's a great product. As far as a seat back is concerned, I purchased an Immersion Research seat back and installed it. It's not a perfect solution but it is comfortable. Good luck, Yackman

Question: What grit of sandpaper did You finish up with? Gary

AnswerBecause I had over applied the resin on the boat, I had a lot of material to remove to smooth the hull and deck.  So I used a vibrating power sander with 320 grit paper, as that was the finest grit I could get for that tool.  It worked out just fine as it is better that the sanded finish has some texture to it, so that the final finish coat will adhere well. Yackman

Question: Good for Fishing, Photography?

Would this boat be good for fishing and photography? In other words is it stable enough to just sit still without a paddle in your hand? I'm used to a 30" beam, but I want something lighter and I want to build it myself.

AnswerThe boat is very stable and could be used for both fishing and photography. The 4PD version I built has a smaller cockpit and lower rear deck than the standard Pinguino 145. That boat has a larger, more open cockpit that you might find better for fishing and photography.  Yackman

Question:  Hatch Gaskets

Don, I see you held it in place (the hatch gasket) with the binder clips and cut it to the right length. However, at the end I see you cut a little piece off. Did it seal well, or did you have to apply additional glue?  R.J.

Answer: Actually, I cut the material a little long. The last thing I wanted was to have the gasket come up short once I had cemented it in. I didn't have to add glue, but I did have some leaks. There were places where the rim didn’t sit as tight to the underside of the deck as it should have. I had to insert additional material along the rim in some places to get a good tight seal.   think you can avoid the problem by applying a uniform amount of epoxy to the rim and underside of the hatch opening and by using many clamps to hold it in place as it drys.   There are two videos on the site on the process of finding the leak and fixing the leak.  packman

Question:  What are the knots you show in the “Pinguino is Finished” video?

Hello Don.

We’re rather at opposite points of the compass with you in Florida (I believe) and me on Vancouver Island, off Canada’s west coast.

 First Don, I must say I have thoroughly enjoyed your series on building the Pinguino 145 4-PD.  It has been of real assistance to me while building the model 145 this past winter.  A friend, building as well has also enjoyed your series as his is a 4-PD model.  In any case, very helpful and thank you for your efforts.  I know the effort that goes into video projects from my own flying adventures in a Bushby Mustang ll that I scratchbuild and first flew in 1981.  Hey, you may enjoy some of them so I will include a link for you.  If you have little interest in things that fly, at least the scenery of Vancovuer Island may appeal to you.

 I am at the stage where I am ready to add the bungee cords and rigging to my kayak Don and am intrigued with the knots you used.  Referring to your “Pinguino is Finsihed” video, I am referring to two knots, both of the slip kind.  The first was at the 1:26 mark of the video and the second, refers to the 2:21 point where you are describing the two slip knots that allow tightening or loosening the bungee.

 Can you lead me to a YouTube link perhaps where these two knots are described?  I have done a search of knots on the internet but come up dry.  Have you been satisfied with their operation?

 Thank you so much Don, and I trust you can find a few minutes to send a  note.  If you are too busy kayaking, I will understand. <wlEmoticon-smile[1].png>

 BTW, here’s a shot of my Pinguino 145 all varnished now and getting ready for a few finishing touches.  I can hardly wait!


AnswerBecause of your question, John, I created video that I hope will explain how these knots are tied.  Follow this link to find that video: Pinguino’s Knots

John’s Boat; It really looks good.

Question:  What about polyurethane as a finish?

Hi Don,This is Marc DeLuca with Kayak Around Florida. I'm a CT finisher and met you at the last Hidden Coast Paddlers Festival.  We spoke about wood kayak building.  I finished the Pygmy boat building class in Appalachicola a couple weeks ago and have some questoons about 2 part polyurethane.  Would like your suggestions.  How best to contact you to discuss- email? Phone?   Oh, I built the Coho....Cheers, Marc

AnswerWe can do either email or phone, or both for that matter.  You can respond to my home email ( or call my land line (000-000-0000).  The WR-poly I used has held up well, is fast and easy to apply and leaves a lighter finish than varnish.  I haven’t had to re-do the finish yet, but my guess is that it will be less fussy and time consuming than re-varnishing.

Mark’s Coho under construction.  It looks great.

Mark’s Coho, finished.  What a beautiful job!

image1 - Version 2

Mark’s next project: Pinguino.

© Don Yackel 2016